High School

Good Counsel beats Gonzaga to secure spot in WCAC championship

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Chad Ricardo

Good Counsel beats Gonzaga to secure spot in WCAC championship

The Good Counsel Falcons flew past the Eagles on Friday night en route to a 44-14 victory, making them the first to secure their seat in the WCAC championship game.

The Falcons set the tone early. Their defense forced a Zaga 3-and-out on the Eagles first possession and Good Counsel followed it up with a Sy’veon Wilkerson touchdown run. That sequence of events would be foreshadowing for what was to occur throughout the night. 

Early in the second quarter, Caleb Williams drove the Eagles down the field, capping off the drive with a spectacular 16-yard scamper. The touchdown gave Gonzaga a 7-6 lead, one that would be short-lived and the only lead they’d have all night.

Wilkerson scored again on the Falcons next possession and quarterback Chase Williams connected with Sean Aaron in the corner of the end zone just before the half, extending Good Counsel’s lead to 20-7 at the break. The Falcons offense, which has struggled at times this season, had found its’ wings.

“The defense and special teams carried us early in the year,” said coach Andy Stefanelli. “We were seeing improvement— it just wasn’t showing up on the scoreboard all the time. Tonight, the offense played great. It all finally came together."

Gonzaga looked to flurry to start the third. They recovered an on-side kick and drove the ball into scoring position. When the Good Counsel defense tightened, the drive stalled ending in a Mitchell Melton sack of Caleb Williams, which forced a turnover on downs.

The Falcons flustered the 5-star quarterback all night. They pressured him relentlessly, blanketed his receivers, which led to coverage sacks and limited the lanes by which he could run.

“Caleb is a great player,” said Stefanelli. “The plan was to try and contain him. We didn’t rush him every time— we sent some blitzes, but because he’s just as dangerous running as he is passing the ball, so we were just focused on containing him."

After a field goal increased the GC lead to 23-7, Mitchell Melton made another big play, this time deflecting a Williams screen pass, which was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Ronnell McCorn.

With the physicality of the Falcons offensive line beginning to wear down the Eagles, Wilkerson ran off-tackle, untouched 25 yards for his 3rd of 4 touchdowns on the night. He attributed his success to the blocking of his line and receivers.

“We played a complete game on offense and I feel good about that,” said Wilkerson.

Good Counsel outscored Gonzaga 24-0 in the decisive third quarter, turning what began as a hard-fought battle into a blow out victory. Few picked the Falcons to win, nonetheless to do so in such a convincing manner. Despite entering the contest with Gonzaga as the higher seed, many pundits predicted the Eagles would fly to the championship game. Few outside of the GC locker room thought they’d advance—a thought that wasn’t overlooked by the Falcons.

“We talked about it all week. We knew nobody believed in us,” said Wilkerson, “nobody has believed in us all year, so we came out to prove everybody wrong again."

Good Counsel will have one more opportunity to silence their doubters; next week in the WCAC championship game.
 

DaLawn Parrish and Wise football reclaim Maryland state title

DaLawn Parrish and Wise football reclaim Maryland state title

It’s been 379 days since Wise lost to Quince Orchard in their 2018 state semifinal matchup. It’s been 9,096 hours since the Pumas' 48-game win streak was snapped and 545,760 minutes since the then-four-time champion became nothing more than a contender.

That time has passed. Wise is Wise, again.

The Pumas defeated Northwest 35-21 to reclaim the Maryland 4A state championship Friday night. The victory ended a nightmare for head coach DaLawn Parrish that he’d been living in for over a year. Asked how often he’d thought about getting back to this moment, he replied, “just about every day."

From 2015-17, the Pumas experienced so much success that at times Parrish felt his adversaries, as well as some of his supposed supporters, were anxiously waiting to witness Wise’s downfall.

“A lot of times we talk about ‘us against the world,'” Parrish said. “I think back to that QO game and I did feel like everybody wanted us to lose. Even though we had all these people behind us, I felt like half of them was cheering for QO—it was like we weren’t being supported. When I was coming up, everybody wanted to see a dynasty, now it feels like everybody wants to see the underdog win."

Parrish and the Pumas set out to use that loss as a teaching tool for the student athletes, both on and off the field.

“We used it as motivation. It drove me, it drove these young men, it drove my coaches.

"This is bigger than X’s and O’s, it’s about surrounding [these student athletes] with good people. We help them to understand what failure looks like, what it is to continue to try and we teach them that although somedays things don’t go their way, they have to keep pushing forward."

The life lesson was on full display in the state championship game. Friday night was a tale of two halves. During the first, the Jags looked like the better team at times. Northwest quarterback Jordan Morse connected with wide receiver Kaden Prather down the right sideline for a 79-yard score in the first quarter and Ryan Beach zig-zagged 69 yards on a screen pass to even the match seconds before intermission.

The vaunted Wise defense that had only allowed two opponents to score in double figures all season had given up two touchdowns in just two quarters. Asked if anything the Jags did in the first half surprised him and his staff, a jovial Parrish responded, “It surprised me that one of my people blew a coverage,” with a smile. “And I will be honest, [Beach] was quicker than I thought he was. The film doesn’t do him justice."

The Pumas' defense entered the third frame with a renewed energy. It stymied the Jags rushing attack and applied relentless pressure to Morse, registering six sacks on the night.

“I knew that if we got them in 10-personnel, they’d be in trouble because they haven’t seen speed like ours," Parrish said. "A lot of what they do is screens and short passes, so if we could get pressure [on their quarterback], I thought we could blow the game open sooner or later."

After yielding a long completion in the first quarter, Jalil Farooq proved to be a difference maker for Wise. He blanketed Prather in the second half, getting his hands on multiple passes. His third-quarter interception swung the momentum in the Puma’s favor.

“Jalil played a helluva game," teammate Dorian Strong said. “His endless pass break-ups and the pick was key for us."

Farooq would capitalize on his forced turnover moments later, when he ran a reverse in from eight yards out and gave Wise a 28-14 lead.

The Pumas' main source of consistency throughout the evening was sophomore quarterback Jayden Sauray. When the game was in the balance, Sauray delivered. He threw second-half touchdowns to Strong and Keith Boddie Jr. to match his two first-half touchdown runs. The young QB showed skill and leadership beyond his years.

“The way he played with poise was outstanding,” Parrish said. “He doesn’t get rattled much. To be a 15-year old young man and have that kind of poise and confidence is unheard of. To stay the course and remain steady the way he does, just shows who he is and what’s to come [from him] will be outstanding."

The title is the Puma’s fourth in five years and the program’s fifth this decade. However, there is little reason to expect Parrish to celebrate for too long; he’s already planning his next steps,

“We just won this championship and my mind is working on next year," Parrish said. "Who do we have to replace? Who’s coming up from junior varsity? I’m thinking about my seniors and trying to get them in college. My mind is looking outward and I haven’t had a chance to take this all in. It’s like it never stops."

Such is life when you’ve built a dynasty. Wise is Wise, again.

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Top 20 DMV boys basketball: PVI, DeMatha lead rankings

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Top 20 DMV boys basketball: PVI, DeMatha lead rankings

Week 2 began with a Virginia rivalry matchup between PVI and Bishop J. O'Connell. Behind Duke commit Jeremy Roach, PVI defeated O'Connell, in a sold-out playoff environment gym.

In other notable matchups, Good Counsel upsetting Gonzaga 59-56 - Bez Mbeng led Good Counsel with 14 points.  Antoine Jacks and Dylan Williamson both contributed 12 points. And Eleanor Roosevelt defeated South River 73-61, and in an out-of-county matchup. In an IAC vs MAC non-conference game between St. Andrews and Georgetown Prep, St. Andrew's took the 89-52 victory. Dylan Edwards led St. Andrews with 15 points. Here's this week's top 25:

1. PVI 

2. DeMatha 

3. Gonzaga 

4. Saint Stephen's Saint Agnes 

5. St. John's 

6. Rock Creek

7. Bullis  

8. Archbishop Carroll

9.  Coolidge

10. Good Counsel

11. Riverdale Baptist 

12.  Bishop McNamara 

13. Thurgood Marshall

14. St. Andrew’s

15. Bishop O’Connell 

16. Georgetown Prep

17. St. Mary's Ryken

18. Wise

19. Wilson 

20. Eleanor Roosevelt 

 

Click here for the Top 20 girls' rankings.